Using a Spacer Children’s Asthma Service Information Leaflet

About asthma and spacers

A spacer is a container, with a mouthpiece or mask at one end and a hole at the other end that the aerosol inhaler fits into.

To use the spacer, you fit the inhaler into the end opposite the mouthpiece or mask, spray the inhaler and then breathe in the medicine through the mouthpiece or mask.

Spacers are important because:

  • They make aerosol inhalers easier to use and more effective
  • Your child gets more medicine into their lungs
  • They are convenient and compact
  • They work just as well as nebulisers in acute attacks of asthma.

Children should not use aerosol inhalers without a spacer. Spacers with masks are used for babies and very young children. Sometime between the ages of two & three, your child will learn to use the spacer without a mask.

Using a spacer with a mask:

  • Shake the inhaler well
  • Fit the inhaler into the end of the spacer
  • Place the mask over your baby’s face so that it seals around the nose & mouth, tilting the spacer slightly upwards
  • Press the inhaler once and allow your baby to breathe it in for a slow count of ten
  • Remove the spacer.

Repeat these steps for each puff.

Your doctor or nurse will tell you how many puffs are needed.

Visit the link below to check your Child’s inhaler technique.

UKIG inhaler videos/spacer videos

Using a spacer with a mouthpiece

  • Shake the inhaler well
  • Fit the inhaler into the end of the spacer
  • Place the mouthpiece in your child’s mouth ensuring their lips seal around it
  • Press the inhaler once and allow your child to take 5 normal breaths in and out
  • Remove the spacer.

Repeat these steps for each puff. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how many puffs are needed.

Tips on using a spacer

Turn the spacer into a toy – decorate it with coloured stickers. You could also make it into a counting game! Have a routine – set a time of day when your child takes their inhaler. Remember to give lots of praise when they do it correctly!

Cuddle or cradle your baby if they are using a spacer and be positive & smile. If you are having problems using the spacer try giving it when your baby is asleep and ask for help.

Looking after the spacer

  • Wash it once a month in warm, soapy water and leave it to air dry
  • Spacers need replacing every 6-12 months.

Remember

  • After giving your child their preventer inhaler – clean their teeth and rinse their mouth
  • Only put one puff of medicine into the spacer at a time – more than one puff, the droplets of spray stick together and coat the sides of the spacer, so your child gets less medicine
  • If you are having problems getting your child to use the spacer – see your nurse for help and friendly advice.

For more useful information

Children’s Asthma Nursing Service
Longsight Health Centre
Stockport Road
Longsight
Manchester
M13 0RR

Telephone: 0161 248 1226

Asthma UK Adviceline:

Telephone: 0300 222 5800
Website: www.asthma.org.uk